Popple Dungeon bridge reopening missed again Residents continue to take the long way home

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Chester residents who live west of the intersection of Popple Dungeon and Zezza roads are still taking the long way home as Alpine Construction has yet to open the new bridge over the South Branch of the Williams River, which was slated to be usable on Tuesday.

Work started almost 13 weeks ago when Chester’s road crew took down the temporary bridge that was placed over a failing culvert in 2016. When that was done, Alpine began working excavating for new abutments, removing the old culvert and pouring concrete. But the bridge was scheduled to be reopened to traffic around Aug. 20 and the east abutment was poured on Aug. 16 with a seven day curing period to follow. With the delays, the company asked for three to five weeks to reopen the road. The town pared that request down to two weeks, which has now passed.

Last Thursday, tractor-trailers hauled six pieces of precast bridge decking to the site and a large crane lifted them onto the abutments. In a matter of hours, the sets of cables that pull the six sections into one bridge had been “tensioned” and seams were grouted. On Tuesday, dump trucks brought stone and gravel to fill in the gap between the roadbed and the bridge deck but, by 5 p.m., the piles of material still sat on the eastside of the bridge and the Alpine crew had not moved Jersey barriers into place temporarily until guardrails are attached to the structure.

It’s not clear when the road will open, but when it does there will still be a crew on site for a few more days as they attach guardrails, “rip rap” the west abutment to prevent erosion and wrap up the site finishes.

According to Town Manager Julie Hance, no additional money is being paid to the contractor for the extra time on site.


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